Ruby Longfin Wrasse Care Guide

Scientific NameCirrhilabrus rubeus
Minimum Tank Size50 Gallons
Water Parameters72-78 F, pH 8-8.4, Salinity 1.020-1.025

The Ruby Longfin Wrasse is a great introduction into the world of wrasses, both fairy and normal. They are often called the Ruby Longfin Fairy Wrasse or blue and red fairy wrasse. They are fairly small, peaceful fish that will not harm any existing tank mates. They acclimate well to new tanks and are very hardy fish.

In general this wrasse likes to swim around the middle and top of the aquarium, only taking occasional trips to the bottom. They will inspect corals, looking for any pests that are making their way to feed on the corals. Likewise they enjoy swimming around the tank and keeping an eye on everyone else in the tank as well as the people outside of the tank.

Is the Ruby Longfin Wrasse Reef Safe?

Wrasse of the Cirrhilabrus family are generally reef safe, with the Ruby Longfin Wrasse being 100% reef safe. They will not harm corals, displace any new corals or hunt inverts in the tank. Even mid sized worms are safe around the ruby. This does mean they will not hunt problematic larger worms but they will go after small worms before they can get large.

Tanks with a large amount of new, live rock should consider adding wrasse to the tank early on. As these rocks settle in the tank they will release ‘hitchhikers’  in the tank. These are random eggs that were hidden inside the rock that hatch inside new aquariums. They could be anything from squids, snails, crabs, worms or shrimp. A lot of these hitch hikers are pests that you will want hunted out of the tank, which the Ruby Longfin Wrasse is an expert at doing.

This wrasse has a small mouth and should not harm or harass any existing inverts. Likewise any inverts that are added to the tank that are of sufficient size should not be harmed by the ruby wrasse.

Ruby Longfin Wrasse Diet

The Ruby Longfin Wrasse is quick to accept just about any foods, even prepared foods like flakes or pellets. They are quick eaters who will not have difficulty eating around even the most competitive eaters, as long as there is no aggression between the fish.

They have small mouths and do best with smaller foods. As their mouths are on the front of their head, not the top or bottom, they do best with slow sinking food or foods that will be suspended in the water column by the powerhead.

A good diet for the Ruby Longfin Wrasse consists of:

  • Frozen Mysis or brine shrimp
  • Prepared foods
  • Chopped shrimp
  • Nori or seaweed
  • Zooplankton
  • Copepods
  • Amphipods

One of the issues of keeping wrasse is their feeding habits. They will require no less than three meals a day, with four being preferable. They cannot hold food very well and will constantly be seeking out their next meal. While most fish choose to hunt rocks and the sand bed for food, the Ruby Longfin Wrasse is actually dependent on constant feeding to stay in good health. Use automatic fish feeders to feed them multiple meals a day if you cannot feed them often enough by hand.

In between meals the Ruby Longfin Wrasse will be seen picking at rocks and the sand bed. This is how they find and eat pods or pests in the tank. For rocks they will use their sharp teeth on their bottom jaw to scrape the rocks and catch their prey. While this can mildly agitate corals it is better in the long run to have pests pulled off the corals.

As they actively hunt pods throughout the day the Ruby Longfin Wrasse should not be kept with any fish who rely on copepods or amphipods. This mostly means dragonets and scooter blennies. Even large 300 gallon tanks will have trouble keeping up with two pod eaters. If you wish to house two of these together you will need to link your aquarium with a refugium.

Ruby Longfin Wrasse Tank Requirements

This wrasse is highly dependent on rocks scattered around the aquarium. They will need caverns both near the bottom of the tank and in the mid section of the tank. When provided plenty of caverns the Ruby Longfin Wrasse will be able to sleep using its mucus cocoon. This is where the wrasse creates a sticky webbing that keeps them in place over night, letting them get better rest while expending less energy. They will usually eat the cocoon when they wake up, making the act extremely efficient and helps them survive.

The main issue cause by their mucus cocoon is from uninformed aquarists. While they are asleep in the cocoon they can look very sick, as it is such an unusual act. Do not disturb the sleeping wrasse. doing so will make them less likely to do use their cocoons in the future and cause unnecessary stress.

The Ruby Longfin Wrasse does not need a bed of sand to bury in but they will sometimes choose to sleep between the rocks and sand bed. Additionally sand will house more beneficial bacteria, which is helpful as wrasse usually make tanks be over fed by asking for so many meals a day. The bacteria in the sand will eat the extra waste and convert it into a less toxic substance. Overall, while not necessary, a sand bed is highly recommended.

Acclimating the Ruby Longfin Wrasse is standard procedure. They will lose a lot of color for the first few days but are overall hardy fish. They have a great survival rate and should adjust to the tank in two or three days, sometimes being comfortable on the first day. Do not be alarmed if they hide for the first few days and do not remove rocks to find them.

As these are smaller wrasse a tight fitting lid is required. Likewise be sure to seal up any holes that they can jump through. These are usually found around any equipment inside the tank and overflow boxes. Mesh or filtration mediums are great tools to cover these small, odd shaped holes.

Ruby Longfin Wrasse Tankmates

Good Ruby Longfin Wrasse tank mates are:

  • Clownfish
  • Peaceful Wrasse
  • Tangs
  • Angelfish
  • Gobies
  • Basslets
  • Chromis
  • Butterflyfish
  • Surgeon fish

Most wrasse will not be harassed by the Ruby Longfin Wrasse. There are some exceptions, mostly fairy wrasse and their own family members. Avoid wrasse from the Cirrhilabrus family. Likewise avoid wrasse that are aggressive towards wrasse, as the Ruby Longfin Fairy Wrasse is easy to bully. For questionable wrasse use a tank of 150 gallons or more to reduce aggression.

Semi aggressive tank mates are to be used with caution while aggressive fish should be completely avoided. Likewise all eels should be kept away from the Ruby Longfin Wrasse. Both the wrasse and eels inhabit the rocks at night, with the wrasse being stationary in the cocoon. Eels will hunt at night and may attack the wrasse or keep them form sleeping in the rocks.

Territorial fish like clownfish should be kept with caution. Most of these fish will have no trouble keeping the Ruby Longfin Wrasse out and will limit the space in which the wrasse feels safe. If you have too many territorial fish they may have to constantly be on the move.

Ruby Longfin Wrasse Gender & Breeding

While not bred in the home aquarium they have been seen spawning. To encourage spawning their tank should have a large amount of rock work to help the wrasse feel safe. There should not be too many other fish and no more than one male should be present. In the wild multiple males may spawn at the same time, however in the home aquarium the act is already rare enough without having multiple males fighting for the females.

When spawning the male will first swim around the tank flashing their colors and flaring their fins. If they see any females they think are interested the Ruby Longfin Wrasse will swim towards the female and then quickly swim to the surface.  The male will do this once alone and then return to the female and swim back to the top of the tank. If the female follows they will release their eggs and sperm near the waters surface before returning to the middle or bottom of the tank.

There is no information about fry being raised in captivity at this time. Fish this small are generally raised by having the eggs removed and hatched in a separate tank, with the newly hatched fish being fed rotifers.

Their genders are not too different from one another. Males will be larger with more solid colors and bigger fins. Unlike other wrasse they do not undergo any color changes and do not have identifying dots on their body. This makes keeping a male and female together more difficult.

As all wrasse start their lives as female the best practice is to raise a male fora year before adding a second young Ruby Longfin Wrasse to the tank. If the wrasse do not fight they may become a pair for awhile. Unfortunately wrasse will always become male in the home aquarium. This means you should have a second tank ready to take in one of the Ruby Longfin Wrasse if you try to keep two paired together.

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